• Music by Meyer Davis Page 3

    Special Prizes and Souvenirs: Candy Boxes, Dolls and More!

    To lure patrons to this newly expanded dance floor, Chevy Chase Lake had special nights with gifts for lucky dancers, usually Tuesdays and Thursdays. Candy Boxes were the gift promoted in The Washington Post on June 12, 1921, p. 52:

    “Special nights will be featured frequently from now on at Chevy Chase Lake, and many pleasant surprises are in store. Tuesday night will be “Candy Box” night, when a generous box of well-known delicacies will be given to holders of lucky numbers.”

    A few weeks later on June 24 in the same newspaper, p. 40, the lucky night was a Thursday, and the prize was a doll.  The prizes were given out to a “lucky” couple after every dance.  In addition to these prizes, publicity notices that “singers from music-publishing houses” would perform on Tuesdays and Thursdays, providing patrons with the chance to hear the most recent “hit” songs.

    Vaudeville comes to Chevy Chase Lake

    At the end of the 1921 season, Davis added vaudeville performances to the regular line-up.  In the September 20 edition of The Washington Post, on p. 16, a large display ad appeared on for Chevy Chase Lake: 

    “VAUDEVILLE!  Clever entertainers appearing this week as local theater.  Surenuff actors—surenuff entertainment!”

    Perhaps Meyer Davis was trying this out at the end of the season to gauge its success. Vaudeville acts from local theaters would become more frequent at Chevy Chase Park in coming years.

    At the opening day of the 1922 season, Pete Macias led the band performing in the upper pavilion and the regular Meyer Davis band conducted by Tommy Thompson played in the lower pavilion.  Despite a fire in the fall of 1921 which burned the café, along with 1500 benches, Chevy Chase Lake was ready for a crowd of several thousand.  A few days later, on May 28, a notice in The Washington Post on p. 50 about Decoration Day, featured a special gift for every woman who attended a holiday afternoon dance:

    “Chevy Chase Lake will be open for afternoon dancing Decoration Day at 1:30pm. Souvenirs are also to be given, a box of candies to every lady present.”

    Lucky Number Nights

    Instead of the lucky prize nights, in 1922 there were lucky number nights.  As reported in a notice on p. 54 in the June 4 edition of the Washington Post, one of the prizes for the holder of the lucky number would receive a record player and records:


    “On Wednesday night there will be another lucky-number night with one prize that’s well worth trying for. It is a Victrola and records, the two equivalent to $50 in cash.”

    By offering a Victrola and records as a lucky prize, Meyer Davis and his musicians and managers were able to tie this new way of listening to popular music with their live musical performances at Chevy Chase Lake.  Perhaps this Washington store, shown in a photograph from the Library of Congress, is where the Victrola and records were purchased.


    Display window of Ansell, Bishop & Turner, Inc., a shop dealing in Victrolas and Victor records at 1221 F Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., 1921. Library of Congress.


    Click to the next page to learn more about vaudeville performers at Chevy Chase Lake.



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